Africa: One in Four People in Africa Have to Pay Bribes to Access Services, Corruption Barometer Shows (Afrobarometer)

An anti-corruption billboard.
press release

Accra — The new Global Corruption Barometer - Africa 2019, released on African Anti-Corruption Day by Transparency International and Afrobarometer, reveals that more than one in four people who accessed public services during the previous year had to pay a bribe.

A majority of citizens surveyed in 35 African countries think that corruption is getting worse and that their government is doing a poor job of fighting it, the report indicates.

The 10th edition of the GCB-Africa, based mainly on Afrobarometer's Round 7 surveys, is the largest and most detailed survey of citizens' views on bribery and other forms of corruption in Africa. The report, available here, is the eighth in Afrobarometer's Pan-Africa Profiles series on its most recent survey findings.

The report also highlights that corruption disproportionately affects the poorest citizens, who have to pay bribes twice as often as the richest to access public services such as health care and police assistance. Young people pay more bribes than their elders.

Key findings:

  • Corruption is on the rise: On average across 35 countries, more than half (55%) of all citizens think that corruption in their country increased in the previous 12 months. Only 23% think it declined.
  • Many governments are failing to do enough: Only one in three citizens (34%) think their government is doing a good job at fighting corruption, while 59% rate their government's performance as bad.
  • Concerns about the integrity of public officials are high: Among key public institutions, police are most widely seen as corrupt; almost half (47%) of people say "most" or "all" police are corrupt. But many also see most or all government officials (39%) and parliamentarians (36%) as corrupt.
  • Bribery demands are a regular occurrence for many: More than one in four citizens who accessed public services, such as health care and education, paid a bribe in the previous year. This is equivalent to approximately 130 million people in the 35 surveyed countries.
  • Corruption hits the most vulnerable hardest: The poorest people are twice as likely to pay a bribe as the richest, and young people (aged 18-34) are more likely to pay a bribe than their elders.
  • Despite fears of retaliation, citizens can make a difference: Two-thirds (67%) of citizens fear retaliation if they report corruption. Even so, more than half (53%) think ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

About the GCB

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) - Africa survey was implemented by Afrobarometer in 34 countries as part of its Round 7 surveys, in collaboration with Transparency International. A separate survey for the Democratic Republic of Congo was commissioned by Transparency International and conducted by Omega Research.

The surveys were conducted face-to-face using computer-assisted personal interviewing with 47,105 adults aged 18+ living in 35 countries in Africa.

The fieldwork was conducted between September 2016 and September 2018, and the surveys were sampled and weighted to be nationally representative. The overall results for Africa are equivalent to an average of the countries surveyed. For more on the survey methodology, please visit

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